The Terrifying Haunted History Of The Queen Mary
When the RMS Queen Mary was launched in 1936, she was the flagship jewel in the Cunard-White Star Cruise Line crown. At 1,019 feet long, the Queen Mary was the longest ship in the world - even longer than the Eiffel Tower is tall. She was a giant of the sea and heralded for being bigger, faster, and more powerful than the ill-fated Titanic. Her craftsmanship was unparalleled at the time, and today the Queen Mary is still considered to be one of the most elegant passenger ships ever built.
During her reign, this stately North Atlantic liner carried a veritable who's who of celebrities, artists, and political dignitaries across open waters. From Bob Hope and Elizabeth Taylor to President Dwight D. Eisenhower and the Kennedys, the elite clamored to enjoy this mobile luxury hotel and its upscale amenities. Life aboard the ship was glamorous, and the evenings rivaled the gala affairs held in palaces.
Because of her sheer power and swiftness, the Queen Mary was drafted during WWII to ferry Allied troops to the heart of the fight. The Queen Mary was decommissioned in 1967 and permanently docked in Long Beach, CA, where she operates today as a luxury hotel and living museum.
Although the Queen Mary's rich history may have garnered the vessel some impressive titles, she has recently earned a more notorious designation. Ghost stories from the Queen Mary suggest that it may be one of the most haunted ships in the world. Scary stories about the Queen Mary say she is riddled with phantom figures, cold spots, and disembodied voices, and the craft has made her way onto the ultimate ghost hunting bucket list for good reason. Whether the haunted Queen Mary is dominating history or paranormal lore, she continues to prove that she is the queen of them all.
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A Former Crew Member Leaves Handprints In 'Shaft Alley'Photo: Grendl / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0
In the early morning hours of July 10, 1966, the crew of the Queen Mary ran a routine emergency drill. While near the engine room during the drill, 18-year-old crewmember John Pedder attempted to squeeze through door 13 while it was completing its 60-second closing process. Pedder gravely miscalculated, and was caught in the door.
Today, "Half Hatch Harry," as Pedder is affectionately known, is often spotted in corridors and elevators surrounding the engine room. Those visiting "Shaft Alley" - the narrow passage from the engine room to the stern - have reported seeing a bearded man in dated work overalls following them, and then suddenly disappearing near door 13. There are also claims of clothing or purses being tugged on, banging on pipes, and greasy hand prints appearing out of nowhere.
Former tour guide Nancy Anne disclosed her own encounter with Pedder:
I don't know why I turned around, but I turned around, and standing right behind me on the step was a man. He had on blue overalls, and they were dirty. When I stepped aside to let him go by, he wasn't there. He was gone.
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A Ghostly Little Girl Leaves Wet Footprints By The PoolPhoto: Coote, R G G (Lt), Royal Navy official photographers / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain
One of the most famous spirits aboard the Queen Mary is known as Jackie. While it's unknown whether or not Jacqueline Torin perished in the second-class pool, she has continued to spook both guests and investigators for decades. Jackie is one of the most recorded spirits aboard the Queen Mary, and is known for audibly answering questions and leaving behind lively EVP exchanges. Tour guides often try to coax little Jackie into singing the guests a song. Occasionally, she does.
A playful ghost, Jackie often interacts with visitors in either the first- or second-class pool areas. Many have claimed to hear her giggling, laughing, singing, splashing in the pool and asking for either her parents or her teddy. Guests say they have even heard her playing with other children.
"We came into the pool and I heard giggling. The sound of a little girl playing in the area. And at that point, I noticed there was splashing," said Kathy Love, a maintenance supervisor on the ship. "The splashing stopped, the giggling continued and we observed the wet footprints of a small child walking across into the locker room. I know that I saw what I saw. I'm not sure exactly why I saw it but I know it was there."
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Fallen Sailors Are Still Trying To BoardPhoto: Polyrus / flickr / CC-BY-ND 2.0
During WWII, the Queen Mary was put into active duty for her country. Because of the gray paint job that she was given as a new Allied troop transport ship, she was nicknamed "The Grey Ghost."
At that time, it was customary for ships to sail in a zigzag pattern in order to counter any U-boat strikes. Larger craft would often be escorted through open water by smaller vessels that would provide anti-aircraft cover. Germany had made it clear that the Queen Mary was a target, and at one time there was a $250,000 reward and an Iron Cross to any submarine captain capable of sinking her. Because of this, the vessel was given orders to never stop while out in open sea, or else she was likely to become the target of intense U-boat fire.
In October 1942, the Queen Mary's escort ship, the HMS Curacoa, was struggling to keep up and tried to recoup some ground by running straight instead of zigzagging. The Queen Mary collided so hard with the Curacoa that the smaller ship was severed in two. Due to her orders, the Queen Mary sailed on. The Curacoa sank in less than six minutes, and only 99 men survived.
While working in the bow of the ship, marine engineer John Smith claimed to hear sounds of rushing water, metal tearing, and men screaming on several different occasions. Much later, after Smith read an article about the Curacoa, he said, "the very area where I heard that mysterious water rushing was the exact same area that was damaged when the ship hit the Curacoa. I said, 'This is what it would have sounded and felt like if I had been in that compartment at the time.' But I knew it couldn't be."
Others have had similar experiences. Some have said that they heard what sounded like dozens of hands pounding on the sides of the ship, begging to be let aboard.
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A Lost Little Girl Still Cries For Her Mother
One of the saddest tales from the Queen Mary involves what presumably happened in room B-474. A man slayed his wife and child, then proceeded to the bathroom, where he executed his other daughter before annihilating himself.
Some say that the daughter found with him in that B deck restroom has continued to roam the Queen Mary ever since. Referred to as "Dana," the girl is said to haunt the archive and cargo areas of the ship, and can be heard playing and hiding among the crates. Ghost hunters often investigate the cargo hold in search of the lost girl, and claim proof of her existence in the form of orbs and misty shadows that appear in their photos. Visitors have also reported seeing Dana wandering near the second-class pool, desperately crying out for her mother.
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A Former Worker Continues To Tap On The Hull
A man named John Henry is rumored to have passed near the generator room while working on the construction crew of the Queen Mary in the 1930s. Today, unexplained noises and sightings of a shadowy figure plague that area. People inside the room have reported being touched, having their cheeks brushed, and being pushed or tugged on. There have also been claims of spirits looking down at people through a hole in the, ceiling and then darting away.
The most common sounds from the area are persistent clanks and taps on the hull. Some say the sounds are consistent with men working on a ship.
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Spectral Patrons Haunt The Restaurants And LoungesPhoto: Colin Rose from Montreal, Canada / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0
Server Carol Leyden had been working on the Queen Mary for 14 years before she had an encounter she would never forget:
For some reason I picked up a cup of coffee, went out to the tables, and there was a lady sitting there. I was so fascinated by her dress. She appeared to be in a late afternoon cocktail-type dress from the '40s. She had dark hair, rolled at the sides, no makeup on. She seemed very pale, but I never saw her move. I left the table, went up about ten feet, turned around because I wanted to take another look, and there was nothing there.
Leslie Schirmacher, a bartender in the Starboard Lounge, claims that she has been personally haunted by a specter named "Bruce." Schirmacher says she can feel someone watching her, and that Bruce tends to moves wine glasses.